Straining under the pressure when his four week deadline is cut back to two, McGregor’s ghost-writer learns that he is the replacement for a previous incumbent found mysteriously drowned not far from the Martha’s Vineyard compound – shot in Germany – where Lang lives with his testy wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams). “He didn’t strike me as the suicidal type” his editor unhelpfully remarks.
Polanski’s oeuvre comes full circle with this late career Hitchcockian thriller; a stylish suspense drama with the director in full command of every formal device in his master filmmaker’s toolkit and which also evokes elements of earlier Polanski films: the shifting power play between Lang, his wife Ruth, Lang’s aide, Amelia (Kim Cattrall, in a role worthy of her talents) and McGregor’s nervous scribe revisits the template set in Knife in the Water and elaborated in Bitter Moon; the Langs’ hermetic sea-side bunker recalls the tidal setting of Cul-de-Sac and in the central character’s deepening sense of dread and uneasy identification with his deceased predecessor, The Ghost Writer taps The Tenant.
The Ghost Writer
19 Nov - 20 Nov
Working with British author and co-screenwriter Robert Harris, Polanski’s adaptation of Harris’ The Ghost finds the director in political thriller territory. Ewan McGregor is the writer who, despite a reticence not shared by his brash New York agent, is hired to ghost the memoirs of former UK Prime Minister, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). The tension ratchets up considerably when Lang becomes the focus of a politically motivated war crimes investigation.